Ever wonder why photographers charge what they do?
In a time of digital cameras, iPhones, Instagram, and filters… People tend to ask… Why do professional photographers cost so much? Well, there is a whole lot more to it than taking nice pictures with a decent professional camera. You are paying for the expertise, creativity, and the time it takes to create the photo Itself.
Let’s take a look at a typical two-hour portrait session:
The time adds up fast!
So now let’s take a look at a wedding with 8 hours of coverage time. I will spend on average 40-50 hours of my time on a wedding that was 8 hours long. Time is spent:
There is quite a bit more: Like the time spent talking to the other vendors. For example, the time that is spent talking to the venue about details and insurance. Then requesting insurance documentation from my insurance company to provide to each venue. There is also the time spent organizing, hiring, and managing assistants and second photographers when they are needed.
Another huge contributor to the cost of hiring a professional photographer is the cost of the professional camera gear and equipment owned by that photographer. Now, I strongly believe that gear isn’t everything… It takes a talented photographer to work the professional gear and serious knowledge about light, light setups, and cameras. But when you are a professional photographer, you do need to have professional gear to ensure you are not held back in capabilities. Here is a list of my gear and the price tags I paid for them (Rounded).
Now, doing the math that is up to $32,000 dollars that I lug around with me to a wedding or shoot. If something happens to that gear, I have to replace it. Gear wears out and needs to be replaced, eventually, and it is a huge investment.
The costs associated with just owning and managing a photography business itself are quite high as well. Some of those costs include:
A lot of my couples are able to find me because my photos have been featured somewhere. I spend a lot of time submitting the photos to publications, emailing publishers, following up with those publishers and requests, etc. I am constantly responding to requests, orders, and inquiries that take a lot of time. A lot of time is spent meeting with potential couples/clients.
To sum it all up… You get what you pay for. A professional photographer, like myself, is worth much more than you may realize because you aren’t just paying for a bunch of photos… You are paying for the use of their gear, the time and money they spend on all of the items listed above, and the time they have spent to become experts in the field of photography to capture photographs in a creative and artistic way.